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Jose ignites in Turin cauldron

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-09 09:44
The goalmouth scramble that ended in an own goal by Alex Sandro (front left) to gift Manchester United a 2-1 Champions League win at Juventus on Wednesday. STEFANO RELLANDINI/REUTERS

TURIN, Italy-After listening to taunts from the Juventus crowd for 90 minutes, Jose Mourinho couldn't resist paying back in kind.

Mourinho had to be escorted off the pitch on Wednesday after celebrating Manchester United's 2-1 Champions League win by cupping his hand to his ear to the crowd after the final whistle.

The gesture sparked an altercation with Juventus players but it couldn't overshadow the enormity of the result for United, which has struggled domestically but now has a great chance of reaching the knockout stage in Europe.

"I came here to do my job and I was insulted for 90 minutes," Mourinho said.

"I wouldn't do that gesture again, but I don't think I offended anyone and at the time it seemed like the appropriate response to those who had insulted all my family, apart from my Inter one too."

Juve fans have little love for Mourinho after his three-year stint managing bitter rival Inter Milan.

Following United's 1-0 loss to Juventus at home two weeks ago, the Portuguese coach responded to the goading by holding up three fingers, denoting the treble of titles-Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup-he won with Inter in the 2009-10 season.

This time he had a win to celebrate after watching his team being dominated and then fight back after former United star Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular opener.

Juan Mata leveled with an 86th-minute freekick before a last-gasp Alex Sandro own goal earned United a dramatic victory, rekindling memories of its come-from-behind semifinal triumph at Juve in 1999, when the English side went on to lift the trophy.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci angrily approached Mourinho as he cupped his ear at the Bianconeri fans and the United coach was escorted off the pitch by a UEFA official and some members of his staff.

It was Juve's first loss in any competition this season.

"When I work for a club like Manchester United I need to forget my past as in those 90 minutes I represent Manchester United," Mourinho said.

"But the others didn't forget. And it is a great joy for me because we won against a super team."

Juventus sits atop Group H, two points ahead of United. Valencia, which earlier beat Swiss side Young Boys 3-1, is two points back.

"We shouldn't have given away those freekicks ... it was the only way United was going to score," Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "But we still have two matches which will allow us to finish first."

Asked if he would have reacted like Mourinho, Allegri replied: "No, I leave the pitch immediately to avoid reacting. I only get angry with my team when they go to sleep every now and then."

Next up for United is Sunday's derby at Manchester City, where a good result for the visitor would truly silence Mourinho's numerous critics this season.

Associated Press

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